Christ on a Crutch: It’s The Boondock Saints!


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I saw The Boondock Saints a year ago and, initially, I thought it was the epitome- sheer violence, retribution, etc etc… Then, I watched it again tonight… I don’t remember the movie sucking so badly. Now, I know there are plenty of BS (Which is also an abbreviation for “Bull Shit”) fans out there; some of them are even my friends.  Doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy an offensively good movie for entertainment value. For example, Pulp Fiction and The Departed are filled with violent scenes and racist/sexist overtones. The difference between Scorsese, Tarantino, and BS director Troy “Douche” Duffy is that the first two are actually good at what they do. I don’t respect Duffy’s talent because he is talentless – the dialogue is weak, and the message that it projects is biased and prejudice.

Two Irish brothers, bonded by their devotion to the church and their heritage, pay their respects to the church before setting out for the day. Unlike the other parishioners, they have the esteemed privilege to give their blessings while the others sit and hear the guest priest lecture about indifference- how no evil man should go unpunished-and he uses the Kitty Genovese story to solidify the encouragement of a vigilante society. So, steadfast in their beliefs that they should follow the Godly duty of taking the law into their own hands, our protagonists set out the rid the world of “evil men.” They start their “saintly” work in their own Irish pub, first kicking the shit out of two Russian mobsters, then ridding the rest of the bunch in an almost too-easy fashion. Then, they seek out the entire mob with the help of an murderous hitman out on parole (Played by Billy Connolly), an “eccentric” FBI agent (Played by the crafty Willem Dafoe), and their bumbling Italian friend. At first glance, it sounds like a really fun film. And in that regard, it is. But, the suckiness that simmers underneath it all taints the movie, tremendously dashing away any potential that BS had as an enjoyably blood-thirsty, no-holds-barred film.

So, how did the Brothers McRighteous all of a sudden move their target from Russian mafiosos to the most stereotyped bunch of Italian gangsters I’ve ever seen? I understood the Russians were moving in on their turf (starting with their exclusive little pub), but is that the only reason? If so, then the motivation is trite to say the least and only protects a specific community (The traditionally Irish neighborhoods of South Boston), which leaves the rest of us still shaking in our blue-collared boots. If our protagonists are bound to target their retribution on other “evil men”, then they haven’t really provided us with an image as to who these “evil men” are, except for anyone who dares mess with the Irish! With this sort of “protect your own” message in mind, one wonders what may happen if they discovered a member of the church or community acting on bad intentions. That would make an interesting story!

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Speaking of religion, all I have to say is if these boys were from the Middle East or if they were Islamic fundamentalists, then this movie would have received less recognition or praise than it actually deserved. I mean, those ordained by God to do their bidding can make anyone into a monster – does that mean they’re right? Of course not, which is why this story’s premise of “being moved by God” does not appeal to me at all. From Fundamalists to radical Christians to White Supremacists, everyone has used this to cause terror and harm in someone else’s life. But it’s easier to relate to when it’s a couple of young white Irish men…? Gimme a break.

Another thing that bothered me is how Dafoe’s character is depicted. At first, one would think this is at least a somewhat positive (or, perhaps, honest) portrayal of a homosexual character in a movie. While it’s a part of his identity, it doesn’t take away from his intelligence or significance to the story. Then, it all goes to shit when Dafoe’s character calls his lover a faggot. He repeats the same thing again in a gay bar. I wonder if this makes his character redeemable to Duffy and the audience he is trying to attract. One might consider the derogatory term is synonymous with “nigga” within the context of the film; but, the movie itself thinly handles all other racial and socio-economical themes with little to no grace that the FBI agent’s own faggotness resembles that of an eccentricity than an actual identity, while the other “fags” he refers to are normal-looking in comparison.

And now – the deleted scenes. Oh. my. God, roll in another stereotype: The man-hating, butch dyke, flannel wearing FEMINIST!!! The best is the dialogue between one of the “saints” and his boss, in which he accuses him of”appeasing big fat lesbians.” Oh hold on, there’s another stereotype I almost forgot: Good Ol’ Irish Mom pours whiskey into her cooking pot while their dumpy-looking sister’s peeling potatoes! Mind you, this is the same woman who has taught them how to speak French, Russian, Italian, Spanish, and any other language they can summon up. In retrospect, it’s laughable and even plausible as a parody. But, the film takes itself so seriously that these scenes don’t translate  as funny at all.

While The Boondock Saints is a complete and utter bomb (in a bad way), it does prove useful in determining if you’re a racist. Here’s how:

1) Watch the movie and the deleted scenes.
2) Replace stereotypical characters in the movie with ones whom you closely identify with.

So, if you replace the feminist with a chicken-eating, dark-skinned, doo-rag wearing blackie and change the jokes from dyke to nigger, then would it receive the same reaction?

While this is a stupid method to finding out if you’re secretly hated by everyone you know, I do think it makes it a bit easier to refrain from the classic response: “Well, whatever, they were just playing around.” This type of humor is offensive in the context of the film because it bears no merit to the plot and does nothing but show these saints as assholes.  But, I’m just a man-hating feminist… so, of course I didn’t like it.

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